For the past five years, Myanmar has seen political, economic and social change. Conflicts have flared, attempts at peace have been made, the government has changed and yet, established policies seem to remain. Civil society has new spaces, and freedom of speech is curtailed along new borders. Any attempt at describing the developments in Myanmar comprehensively is futile, so we won’t attempt it here. Rather, we invite you to join us in sharing knowledge and expertise during this year’s interdisciplinary Myanmar conference.
A Tradition in the Making
The Wissenschaftsforum Myanmar (WiMya) a network for facilitating exchange between researchers, working on and with Myanmar was established in 2012. Since 2014, researchers from German speaking Europe (mainly Austria, Switzerland and Germany) meet annually, to exchange the latest research and political changes. The conferences took place in Halle (2014), Zürich (2015) and Berlin (2016). In December 2016 the network was further institutionalized by the establishment of the Myanmar-Institut e.V.. The association facilitates transdisciplinary research and exchange and serves as a focal point to connect experts of the diverse fields with inquirers.
This year’s conference is being hosted by the Department of Southeast Asian Studies of Bonn University. Head of Department is Prof. Dr. Christoph Antweiler. The Department of Southeast Asian Studies is part of the Institute of Oriental- and Asian Studies (IOA) in the Philosophical Faculty. The department’s focus lies explicitly in supra-national and regional processes. It works on transnational migration, regional conflicts and environmental politics. Our science is concerned with current affairs. We work on modern cultures and societies and processes of change. The historical context is incorporated in research and teaching insofar, as it informs the present. We approach the region from a social science perspective, thus by applying analyses and methods rooted in sociological, anthropological and political sciences. A special feature of Southeast Asian Studies in Bonn is our stress on intense language training—mainly Bahasa Indonesia and Vietnamese.
So far, our focus countries encompass Indonesia, as nation with the largest Muslim population world wide, Vietnam, as post-socialist country with broad transformational processes and the Philippines, as a nation shaped by Christianity and Migration. Since SS 2011, we are strengthening our ties with the Burma-Initiative and continue to build up our expertise on Myanmar.
We warmly welcome you to Bonn this June. The hosting of this years Myanmar Conference is a great pleasure and enables us to further integrate Bonn as another center of Myanmar Studies in Germany.